Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: Dec. 12, 2012

Fairfax County Podcasts 

Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for December 12, 2012. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about holiday food safety, keeping holiday decorations safe and a New Year’s resolution you’ll want to keep. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at

No matter what's on your menu this holiday season, the Fairfax County Health Department encourages you to “be food safe.” Many of us will be hosting parties this season – an important time to keep food safety on your mind.  Remember: keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Perishable foods should not be left out for more than two hours and even so, cold perishables should be kept in serving dishes over ice. When foods have reached their time limit, refrigerate them or toss them out. Hot sides and grilled meats should be kept at a temperature of 140°F or warmer until they’re served. When preparing foods, remember these four steps.

  1. Clean:  Wash hands and utensils to avoid spreading bacteria when preparing food.

  2. Separate: Use different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood and veggies.

  3. Cook: You can’t tell it’s done by how it looks! Use a food thermometer to ensure meats reach the proper temperature – 160 degrees for ground beef, for example.

  4. Chill: Keep the fridge at 40°F or below to keep bacteria from growing.

Visit for more tips.


The holiday season is a festive and joyous occasion. When it comes to safe holiday decorating, take these tips from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department:

  • Buy lighting sets according to indoor use, outdoor use or both.

  • Before attaching lights, check for fraying wires, damaged sockets or cracked insulation. If defects are found, replace the entire set.

  • To minimize fire and shock danger, make sure a bulb is in each socket. If a bulb burns out, leave it in and unplug the light set – then replace the bulb.

  • Don't connect more light strings than the manufacturer recommends.

  • Keep indoor extension cords and lights away from water.

  • All outdoor cords, plugs and sockets must be weatherproof.

Some final precautions. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, ensure you have an escape plan and practice it. 


Finally, now is the time for you and your family to make an important resolution for 2013 that won’t cost much and could save a lot of heartache: Resolve to be Ready for any emergency. Whether severe winter storms, tornadoes, spring flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes or something else hits our area, you can be prepared ahead of time. Get a free worksheet at or call toll-free, 1-866-782-3470 to have one or more mailed to you, free of charge.  Then, decide with your family:

  • Who is your emergency point of contact?  Choose an out-of-town friend or relative to be your contact. During emergencies, it’s often easier to make long distance rather than local calls. Make sure every family member knows your emergency contact’s phone number.

  • Where are your meeting places?  In case you can’t return to your home, choose a place to meet in your neighborhood andanother place outside your neighborhood if you can’t get back in there.

  • Do your schools have emergency plans? If you are a parent, ask your schools and day-care providers about their emergency plans. Find out how they will communicate with families during a crisis. Ask if they are prepared to stay in school if necessary and where they plan to go if they must leave.

Emergencies will happen, but taking action now helps minimize the impact they will have on our lives.  Now is the time … Resolve to be Ready in 2013.

That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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